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Kingsport Theatre Guild marks 65 years

May 9th, 2012 10:11 am by Staff Report

Kingsport Theatre Guild marks 65 years

By Susan Kendrick Lauhoff

Having started in 1947, the Kingsport Theatre Guild is one of the oldest in Tennessee and will celebrate its 65th birthday this year.

However, the first recorded play in Kingsport was 27 years earlier when, "J. Fred Johnson, one of the city founders, may have been Kingsport’s first prominent thespian. He appeared in a 1920 theatrical production titled 'Everybody’s Husband' for the benefit of a future public library," shared Sharon Hurd, organizational consultant for arts and culture projects.

Hurd, a former human resources professional and stage mom, became an entrepreneur when she saw a need to use her expertise to benefit the theatrical company. She added, "It’s a very, very thriving community theater. It is healthy and every season is different, staying fresh and reinventing."

"People make the assumption that you have to be an actor to get involved with theater. We have recorded 8,000 to 10,000 volunteer hours per year," explained the consultant.

With five to seven productions each season, help is needed behind the scenes - from builders, costume designers, stage handlers, marketing and technical talents. Also, paint is on the theater's wish list so, instead of recycling it, consider donating it. The theater can use any amount or any color.

Opening date for the next show, "How to Eat Like a Child," is May 11.

Annual summer training classes for 8- to 18-year-olds are scheduled for June 18-29, ending with a performance. The 65th Birthday Bash will be held September 15, 2012. Tickets are $65 each, which includes food and drinks for the evening as well as one season ticket for the 2012-13 season!

All performances are held in the Renaissance Center. Tickets may be purchased in advance or on the day of the performance. To get involved, learn more about upcoming events, or how and when to audition for a part, please go to or call 423-392-8427.

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